DEHRADUN: A priest from Kedarnath shrine who had been protesting since June 12 at an elevation of 11,300 feet above sea level against the formation of the Char Dham Devasthanam Management Board was airlifted from the temple on Monday morning to All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Rishikesh after his health condition deteriorated.
"The priest Santoshi Trivedi,32, was admitted to the hospital on Monday at around 11.30 am. He is being administered by our doctors. His sample has been taken for COVID-19 test too. He complained of pain in his lower abdomen," said Harish Thapliyal, the public relations officer (PRO) at AIIMS, Rishikesh.
The priest sat three times a day in front of of the revered shrine wearing just a 'Dhoti' around his lower body at freezing temperatures of 3-5 degrees. He wasn't ready to back off even when it rained. He used to sit for a duration of 45 to 90 minutes thrice a day. The first sit-in started as early as 5: 30 am during the morning aarti when the temperature is almost freezing at 3 or 4 degree Celsius.
The second sit-in was around 12 in the noon, for 45 minutes, during 'Bhog Prasad' of the lord Kedarnath and lastly, he sits for around 1.30 hours during the evening aarti, around 6 pm.
BD Singh, additional chief executive officer (CEO) of the Board, said, "We are constantly in touch with AIIMS officials regarding the health condition of the priest. I request all the priests who have their objection regarding the board and the law should talk. We are ready to listen to their objections and work out a viable solution."
Earlier, last year, the priests' associations of Uttarakhand in a blood-written letter to Prime Minister of India has requested to intervene in a matter concerning new law about the management of Char Dhams.
In December 2019, in a big win for the government, bill related to the management of Char Dham was passed after discussion in Uttarakhand state assembly.
In July this year, Uttarakhand high court dismissed the public interest litigation files by Bhartiya Janta Party MP Subramanian Swamy in February 2020 opposing formation of 'Char Dham Devsthanam Board' under a law to govern Char Dham and 51 other temples.